Children’s conker tournament called off due to health and safety

JUST when you thought our “nanny state” couldn’t get any more bonkers...organisers of a children’s conker competition have now been forced to cancel the event due to health and safety fears.

Alan and Jeremy Goldsmith were planning to hold the inaugural Children’s Medieval Conker Championship at Mountfitchet Castle on Sunday.

But the owners of the historic Stansted tourist attraction, which announced the event a few weeks ago, had to call off the whole thing as they were unable to get public liability insurance.

Jeremy Goldmisth said: “We came up with the idea at the last moment. So we contacted our insurance group and the amount of form filling, box ticking and bureaucracy made it impossible to do it at short notice.

“They were unable to insure the event because of the conditions imposed and the public liability risk. We would have had to get permission from all the parents and the kids would have had to wear gloves and goggles.”

Mr Goldsmith expressed his disappointment that the fun event had become another casualty of a ‘where there’s blame, there’s a claim’ culture “that is now sadly becoming more prevalent”.

“We wanted to hold this event because we thought it would be a bit of fun. It is something which could have worked well with the toy museum next door, to add to the nostalgia,” Mr Goldsmith told the Reporter.

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“I remember taking conkers to school and playing in the playground and I can’t remember anyone getting killed. There were a few bruises across the knuckles but that’s about it. If anything it made you better at conkers!

“It’s a shame that you can’t just think of it and then run it. It’s only a conker fight, not a physical fight.

“If you run things sensibly there is no need for all the bureaucracy. It spoils our fun and I’m sure lots of events have had to be called off because of it.”

The team at Mountfitchet Castle are now focussed on its Hallowe’en nights on October 28-31...they also intend to hold the inaugural conker tournament next year.

? WHAT do you think? Should the tournament have been called off? Is a conker tournament safe? Has health & safety law gone mad? E-mail us at or write to: Reporter newsdesk, 54 High Street, Saffron Walden, Essex CB10 1EE.